“Maskne” comes from the combination of the words “mask” and “acne”. The medical term for maskne is “acne mechanical”, a condition brought about by the prolonged wearing of facial personal protective equipment.
However, this article would center on maskne caused by prolonged wearing of face masks specifically. A face mask is a material you wear that covers your nose and mouth. It is sometimes called a face covering.
Face masks could be surgical(medical) or cloth masks.
The medical face masks have three layers of light, paper-like material. They are usually white on the inside. They are sometimes called surgical masks or medical-grade masks, as they are often used by medical personnel.
On the other hand, a cloth face mask is usually made of cotton or silk. It often has two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric. Along with medical face masks, they are the most common masks people have been wearing.
Face masks trap sweat, sebum, saliva, and the miscellaneous bacteria that are expelled from your mouth, up against your skin, which thrives in the hot humid environment that’s created when you breathe into a mask all day. These tend to clog the pores and clogged pores can turn into pimples or acne cysts. The masks also tend to cause friction which leads to micro-tears, thereby allowing for easier entry of bacteria and dirt to clog up skin pores.
Well, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the risks of the spreading infection, these facts don’t mean you should consider ditching your masks, even if you are suffering from maskne.
Here’s how you can treat and also prevent maskne.
1. Wash your cloth masks regularly and try as much as you can not to repeat your surgical masks. If you prefer to stick to cloth masks, then they should be 100% cotton and also facilitate your breathing well through them.
2. If you’re already prone to breakouts, you should consider letting your makeup rest. Maybe you can fill in your eyebrows and line your lids so that your fave pops; but allow the foundations, concealers, and powders to take a well-deserving break.
3. Keeping your skin clean is a key point! Exfoliate your skin with a scrub and moisturize as often as you can. Don’t overdo this, so as not to stress the skin.
4. If maskne prevention is no longer the case, then you can start your treatment by applying a cold compress and/or aloe vera to the affected area to soothe the skin. If your skin is more acne-prone, look for something with salicylic acid.
Occasionally washing your face with a dandruff shampoo that has Ketoconazole or selenium sulfide in it can be calming for the skin and help remove excess yeast build-up (especially around the nose and mouth).
If all fails and you’re still breaking out, then it might just be time to pay a visit to your dermatologist to look into other ways for the treatment of your maskne. What you may think is maskne could turn out to be something completely different, like a rash, a cold sore, or hormonal acne.
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